Gov. approves $10.21 billion budget

By: Gavin Moughan, Jack Boggs and News Port

NM State Operation Budget Graph by Gavin Moughan

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday largely approved the budget passed by state lawmakers, signing into law a spending plan 6.8% larger than last year. The budget includes significant increases for education, infrastructure and workforce development, along with major investments in endowed funds aimed at protecting the state against future reductions in volatile oil and gas revenue.

“The budget I signed today represents a strong investment in New Mexico’s future with funding to improve literacy, help keep New Mexicans safe, expand affordable housing, raise teacher pay, assist tribal governments and much more,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in a release.

Unlike last year, Lujan Grisham left the budget and tax package largely intact. But as she has done in the past, she use her line-item veto power to delete portions of the bill that she said tried to create new policies, saying legislators should pass legislation if they want those kinds of changes.

She also vetoed parts of the budget that “impermissibly intrude into the executive managerial provisions” that “unduly restrict appropriations.” For example, in one section she crossed out the words “evidence-based” in an appropriation because, she said, it would prevent the agency from continuing its current “research-based” programming.

The governor highlighted these elements of the bill:

Housing and Homelessness Reduction Initiatives: 

  • $125 million to NMFA’s opportunity enterprise revolving fund
  • $50 million to the housing trust fund at NM Mortgage Finance Authority
  • $19.7 million for statewide homelessness initiatives
  • $10 million for transitional housing and shelter facilities for victims of domestic violence
  • $3.3 million to HCA: housing for those with opioid use disorders and serious mental illness

Beautification, and litter clean-up efforts for state and city parks: 

  • $53 million for state and city parks
  • $15 million for Balloon Fiesta Park
  • $10 million for roadway beautification
  • $10 million for state buildings
  • $2 million for litter marketing campaign


  • 3% raise for all school personnel
  • $86 million for literacy initiatives across the state
  • $41 million for universal free school meals
  • $15 million for pay differentials to recruit and retain hard-to-staff special education positions
  • $6 million for special education initiatives
  • $5 million for attendance improvement interventions
  • $4 million for school turnaround pilot projects in Albuquerque public schools

Public Safety 

  • $25 million for firefighter recruitment fund
  • $25 million for corrections and law enforcement recruitment

Infrastructure, Water, and Natural Resources: 

  • $540 million in road improvements
  • $300 million for the conservation legacy permanent fund
  • $75 million for the new “match fund”
  • $50 million for the water projects fund
  • $25 million for broadband
  • $20 million to support and fund Indian water rights settlements
  • $10 million to the Climate Investment Center
  • $5 million for water right adjudication work

Capital Outlay and General Obligation Bond Highlights  

  • $325 million for Higher Education Institutions
  • $110 million for Tribal Projects
  • $104 million for water and wastewater projects statewide
  • $92 million for Parks & Recreation
  • $71 million for Public Safety
  • $44 million to purchase and improve Correction Facilities Statewide
  • $33 million for Senior Center Projects
  • $30 million for the new Literacy Center
  • $15 million for EV Infrastructure
  • $10 million for a Reforestation Center
  • $5.3 million for Early Childhood Education and Tribal Early Childcare Improvements
  • $5 million for Acequia Improvements Statewide
  • $3 million for the Regional Fire Training Academy and Memorial

State Employee Compensation 

  • 3% across the board salary increases for all state employees

After the legislature approved the budget, Democratic lawmakers highlighted these elements:


“We are hoping [this] can do a lot to improve attendance, high school graduation, and efficiency in reading, math, and science,” said Nate Williams, the public information officer for New Mexico Public Education Department. 

  • $59 million for teacher mentorship.
  • $50 million for the Tribal Education Trust Fund
  • $20 million in recurring funding for public education
  • 3% salary increase for higher education and public education employees.
  • $959 million for the Higher Education Trust, which will help maintain the Opportunity and Lottery scholarships offered by educational institutions in the state.

Workforce development

-$50 million for a Workforce Apprenticeship Training Fund

-$20 million annually for workforce training at community colleges

-$10 million in STEM scholarships

-$6.8 million for adult education services

Child Well-Being

The budget for child well-being sits at $17.8 million which would be used to help foster facilities, adoption agencies, family support, prevention and intervention services.

Community Safety

The budget invests $532 million in public safety, allocating money to law enforcement and emergency response agencies to ensure that they are well staffed, and retaining more employees.

-$25 million for the recruitment of local law enforcement and correctional officers.

-$25 million for the recruitment of all fire departments.

-$11 million for emergency medical services.

The budget invests $400 million in the judicial system, raising the budget by 6.4% compared to last year. These budget increases will help fill police, fire, and EMS departments with new recruits and make New Mexico safer with more staffing.

“The funding will definitely help us do some good,” Noah Jones, a long time ski patrol and EMT, said.

The budget also provides $7 million for victim advocacy for those impacted by crimes in New Mexico.


Healthcare and Wellness will receive an astounding $2 billion in this year’s budget. This money will include, 

– The Department of Health budget has increased by 8.4% increasing it to a total of $2.9 billion, including $200,000 for suicide and mental health services for veterans

-$50 million to support operations in small hospitals

– $14.4 million to increase the  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

– $11.5 million in critical reimbursement rate for rural hospitals

– $8 million for providers in the developmental disability waivers system

– $6.1 million for rural healthcare rate increases

– $5 million in food bank funding

 The Aging and Long-Term Services budget has increased by 8.5% including $5 million for the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity fund. 

Climate & Environment

The Climate & Environment has received a large increase in budget this session these raises include, 

– $300 million to the Land of Enchantment legacy fund for conservation. 

– This will be spread across 10 programs, backed by six agencies

-Funding for the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) has increased by 12.5%

– Funding for the Environment Department has increased by 27% to support staffing & regulation

Infrastructure & Technology

Infrastructure & Technology was granted $220 million for the Department of Transportation alone. This section of the budget also includes: 

– $100 million in funds to invest in local governments, statewide agencies, or pilot projects.

– $50 million to increase the water trust fund.

– $25 million for helping New Mexicans to get, and stay connected

– $25 million for the New Mexico Match fund to help rural and infrastructure projects

The funding towards infrastructure and technology in New Mexico will benefit New Mexicans around the state with better access to resources. “It will allow smaller rural communities and under-served communities to access funding in a more timely fashion,” John Rhoderick, the NMED water protection division director, said. 

Economic Development

The Economic development budget was compiled to reach a more diverse and efficient economy in New Mexico, the budget includes, 

– $175 million to expand the Opportunity Enterprise Fund

– $ 15 Million for the LEDA fund and site readiness

– $2.5 million for tourism initiatives relating to Route 66 tourism

– $ 200,000 for local grants and creative industries. 

– $150,000 for publicity of the Connie Mack World Series

– $100,000 for outreach on the 100th anniversary of Zozobra. 

Investment in tourism has also been up 4.4% funding staff vaccinations, and promoting key tourism and attractions.